I found this Schwinn Le Tour a while ago and was going to save it as a winter project, but David showed a lot of interest in it and we are going to restore and update it a little. The Schwinn Le Tour was mad in Japan and is Schwinn approved. The bike has a missing front wheel and shows a lot of dirt and grime, but for the age the paint is in fantastic condition.
The bike is going to be completely restored, a new front wheel is on order, the old brake levers will be replaced with modern aero levers, a new seat will be installed, new gel bar tape, all new cables and housings, new tires and tubes and new brake pads. I think that is all but I might be forgetting something.
|1973/74 Schwinn Le Tour Before - Side View|
|Crank Set Before|
|Fork Chrome Before|
|Fork Crown Before|
|Front Derailleur Before|
|Rear Derailleur Before|
I started by stripping the frame off all components. The stem did not out to release easily but after a few tricks all went well. I always save and label all the cable housing, this make cutting new housing very easy. With the frame and fork bare of parts I started cleaning the frame, the frame cleaned nicely I then moved to polishing. I am so pleased with the paint and color after polishing, for almost 40 years old the red just pops and the chrome on the fork shines. What is really nice and a little unusual is the fork is completely chromed top to bottom, no worries about the fork tube corroding. I like the paint so much I had to take the frame outside in the day light to take photos.
|Bike Stripped of Components|
|Some Grime on the Frame|
|Frame & Fork Cleaned & Polished|
|Fork Cleaned & Polished|
Next I started work on the Bottom Bracket. The bracket was dry and I wasn't expecting loose bearings, but i can find almost no ware anywhere. Loose bearing compared to caged bearings is that you can fit more loose bearings with out the cage. It is for better performance. I cleaned and polished the bottom bracket cups and pregreased and packed the bearings, It is easier to pack loose bearing this way before the cups are installed. I then installed the cups and axle. I am very pleased with the results, the bottom bracket functions smoothly. In the photo below with the caliper shows that one side of the axle is longer then the other. The long side is always the drive side.
|Bottom Bracket Before|
|Bottom Bracket Cleaned & Polished|
|BB Cups Prepacked|
|Drive Side Cup Installed|
|Bottom Bracket Complete|
|Checking for Drive Side|
Next came the headset. The headset cups show no wear at all. This bike has hardly been ridden in its 40 years. The headset bearings are also loose bearings. This is a tedious step for there are 52 tiny loose bearings. The best way is to install the bearings in the cups with a heavy coat of grease, this holds the bearings in place. Next, you must very carefully slide the fork into place with out jarring the bearings out of place. While holding the fork in place I then carefully threaded the headset crown into place. The headset is turning smooth, I am happy with the results.
|Headset Loose Bearings|
This is where I am leaving off for the day. Tomorrow I will be polishing the rest of the components to the headset, stem & bars and installing them. I will also start work on the rear wheel. If all goes well I hoped to get a start on the brake calipers also. Thanks for looking.
|Bike to This Point - Love the Shine of the Red & Chrome|
|Fork Chrome & Polished Red|
Today I started work on the rear wheel. It took a while and did not go well, nothing is wrong with the wheel, the bike gods where just not on my side today. It did take quite a while to polish out the chrome, there was just a little rust, but the chrome is very thin compared to a Schwinn Continental, the thin chrome saves weight. After polishing there are a few pit spots in the chrome but not to bad at all.
It took a little bit of force to get the free wheel off, either the threads where not greased when original installed or the grease just dried up. With the free wheel off I removed the bearings and axle, the grease was dry but there was absolutely no wear, either this bike was never ridden or was the most maintained bike ever. I cleaned and polished all the axle components and re installed it. It turns smooth.
Next I removed the old tire, it was dry rotted to the rim. I leave the old tire in place while polishing, it keeps the wheel from sliding around while I am working on it. It took a sharp knife and a stiff wire brush to clean off all the rotted tire.
I then installed the new Kenda Gum wall tire. It looks great against the chrome. With the tire on the only things left to do was to polish the pie plate and clean the free wheel. The free wheel cleaned easily and still functions very smooth. The pie plate also polished up very nice. A high polish on a pie plate always makes the rear wheel look so much nicer.
That is where I left off today, the rear wheel just took to much time to get to anything else. Tomorrow I will be on to the stem and handle bars.
|Rear Wheel Before|
|Rear Wheel Before|
|Rear Wheel Disassembled|
|Rear Wheel Axle Removed|
|Rear Wheel Polished & New Tire|
|Rear Wheel Complete|
|Rear Wheel On Bike|
|Rear Wheel Installed Free Wheel View|
|Rear Wheel Rim Polished|
The Stem and bars look great polished, my shop lighting does not do justice to the shine in the photos. I can't wait to see the new brake levers and new white cork gel tape against the shine and the red.
|Handle Bars Before|
|Handle Bars Broken Down|
|Headset & Handle Bars Polished & Installed|
|Stem & Handle Bars Polished & Installled|
I finished work on the derailleurs. They looked in rough shape, but looks are not everything. A good amount of degreasing and cleaning and then a lot of polish on the buffer and they look great. I love the look of the LeTour rear derailleur. I have restored many of them and I think they are one of the best looking derailleurs made. Something that surprised me about the front derailleur is that the chain cage is brushed chrome. Usually they have a high sheen, but I kind of like the brushed look. I hope to get the crank set polished and installed tomorrow.
|Front & Rear Derailleur Before|
|Front Derailleur Before|
|Rear Derailleur Disassembled|
|Rear Derailleur Before|
|Rear Derailleur Polished|
|Rear Derailleur Installed|
|Front Derailleur Installed|
I started work on the crank set today. The crank was pretty dirty, dirty enough that I could not tell the finish of the metal. I disassembled the crank, all 38 pieces and cleaned all the grease off. The finish is a brushed nickle look, it is a nice look but means that you can only do very lite polishing. After polishing the crank looks great. There are a few spots that I wish i could have polished harder, but that would leave a shinny spot against the brushed look. With the crank looking good I installed it on the bike. I really like the cleaned polished metal against the red.
I am still waiting on the new front wheel, the seat and brake levers. I won't say where I order them from, but they always have very slow processing and shipping times. The prices are good, but i guess you make up for that in time. I wish the wheel and levers where here, it would allow me to start running new cable housing and see the fresh new white of the housing against the red. I think I will start polishing the miscellaneous parts like the seat post components and cable hanger, the bracketts that run the cables down the down tube and BB, and a few bolts here and there. i will also start the brakes soon.
|Crank Cleaned & Polished|
|Misc. Parts Before|
|Seat Post Hanger Bolt & Tube Polished|
|Bottom Bracket Cable Hanger Polished|
|Down Tube Cable Hanger Polished|
|Front Reflector Polished|
|Crank Arm Polished|
|Brake Calipers Before|
|Front Brake Caliper Before|
|Front Brake Caliper Exploded View|
|Front Brake Polished Rear Brake Before|
|Front Brake Caliper Installed|
|Front Brake Caliper Installed|
|Rear Brake Exploded view|
|Seat Coupler Before polishing|
|Seat Coupler Polished|
|Seat Installed - Looks Great|
Still no front wheel today, the company assured me that it is on its way. I started polishing the rear brake and noticed that one of the caliper arms had a broken area where the cable yoke attaches. Just the tiniest little fingers broken off, but enough that the cable does not seat properly. Maybe this is why the bikes seems to have so little use, it probably didn't stop well with the cable not seated properly. I tired to find a replacement arm in my collection of replacement parts but did not have one because the original caliper is actually of lesser quality then most. So my solution is to use a replacement caliper from my collection. This is a Weinmann 750 center pull brake amde in Switzerland, a very nice brake, better then the original. After polishing and installing the brake looks great. There is a photo where you can see the tiniest finger broken off, hard to see, but makes all the difference in the world. Tomorrow I hope finish off the shift levers and start running housing and cables. I just noticed in the photos that I have to polish and install the rear reflector.
|Broken Caliper Arm|
|Caliper From My Collection|
|Caliper Exploded View|
|Caliper Polished & Installed w/ New Brake Pads|
The front wheel showed up, it is actually an alloy rim, I went back and looked and they say steel replacement rim in the description so I gave a call and they said that it is a misprint, It is actually alloy. I can not believe that the alloy rim and wheel cost so little, I run the same wheel on my Schwinn World Fixed gear, but nutted instead of quick release and it is a great wheel. I am a little worried about the rear wheel now, it looks great, but it is much heavier then the new front wheel. I hope to be finished soon, its in the home stretch, but now its all details, details take time but make the bike in the end.
|Shift Levers Polished & Installed|
|Cable, Cable Housing & Front Wheel Installed|
|Cable & Cable Housing Installed|
|Rear Derailleur Cable & Housing Installed|
I finished the bike today except for the test ride, tuning and a wipe down. I will post the photos of the final details later, but I wanted to get these up to be seen.
|Schwinn Le Tour - Side View|
|Schwinn Le Tour - Favorite Angle|
|Schwinn Le Tour Front View|
|Schwinn Le Tour - Rear View|
|Schwinn Le Tour - Drive Train|
|Schwinn Le Tour - Handle Bar View|
Thanks for looking, if you learned anything or found the post enjoying please do you Amazon shopping in the link at the top right corner of the blog. It helps support the blog and does not raise your Amazon prices. Thanks, John Z..